The Barkleys of Broadway
Comedy / Musical
The Barkleys of Broadway
Comedy / Musical
WEB: same quality as BluRay, but ripped earlier from a streaming service
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Josh and Dinah Barkley are a successful (though argumentative) musical-comedy team, yet Dinah chafes as Galatea to her husband's Pygmalion. When serious playwright Jacques Barredout envisions her as a great dramatic actress, Dinah is not hard to persuade. —Diana Hamilton.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Feb 01, 2022 at 12:12 AM
grade Movie Reviews
The magic seems to have worn off
While I am a big fan of the earlier films teaming Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, this one is a pretty big disappointment. Perhaps it was partly the result of a decade since their last film together, but it is really tough to place film in the same league as fine films such as TOP HAT and SHALL WE DANCE. It was like the original spark and fun was missing from this film. Probably the biggest problem was the script. In most of their more successful films, the plot involves single man Fred meeting and falling for single lady Ginger (or vice-versa). However, in this one they are already married and the bloom has worn off the marriage--realizing they really didn't love each other so much after all! Fans of the team would in many cases be naturally appalled as I was. A bickering and nasty Astaire and Rogers is NOT what we'd come to expect! Apart from the plot, the film was a mixed bag. The songs, in general, were pretty poor and weren't especially memorable (though I did like a few numbers, such as the one with the shoes and the invisible dancers). For support, instead of a best friend for Fred and a best friend for Ginger (the old formula), there is one shared friend in the form of Oscar Levant--who was one of the brighter parts of the film. While I missed Edward Everett Horton or Eric Bloor from the earlier films, Levant was still excellent--with his funny and droll comments as well as his amazing talent at the piano (particularly "The Russian Sabre Dance"--wow).So, overall, the film is pretty good--even slightly better than average, but definitely a step down for the team. Worth seeing, but not a film to rush to see and not at all indicative of the team's earlier work.
Fred and Ginger's last film together may be their weakest, but is still very enjoyable
Even when such an iconic partnership like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are in a film that doesn't showcase their talents as well as their previous outings, you can still enjoy the film on its own. That is definitely the case with The Barkleys of Broadway, still a good enough film despite lacking compared to their previous films. The story may be far-fetched but considering that that component wasn't ever as strong as everything else in their films together that isn't as big an issue. More problematic is Ginger's La Marseillaise scene feeling forced, the Weekend in the Country number never shaking off the feeling that it would have been more suited to Judy Garland(the originally intended female lead, this song really doesn't play to Ginger's strengths) and some of Ginger's clothes- somewhat frumpy-looking here- not accommodating her lovely figure. The costumes, scenery and sets generally are sumptuous and the film is beautifully filmed. The score is lovely too with a sense of whimsy and wit, and while there have been more memorable songs in other Fred and Ginger outings the songs are still good. Shoes with Wings On is a charming and good-natured song that shows off Fred's skills as a dancer very well, Bouncin' the Blues is catchy and fun and anybody who want to see Fred and Ginger's dancing and chemistry will find pleasure in You'd Be Hard to Replace. The Highland Fling song is not particularly memorable but is fun to watch, the kilts are a nice touch. The dance duet of You Can't Take That Away from Me from Shall We Dance is musically and choreographically in a different league, nostalgic and moving it is very effective and doesn't feel out of place at all. The choreography is elegant and sparkling if not with new ideas(ie. dancing on roller-skates or girls on airplanes), and Fred and Ginger's dancing is as poised and athletic as it ever was. Their chemistry is very convincing too. The dialogue is smart and witty with a good amount of heart. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are great here, Ginger may have lost some of her freshness, not helped by some frumpy outfits, but she is still sassy and beautiful. Fred is wonderfully chirpy and debonair, that comes through loud and clear in Shoes With Wings on. The supporting cast give solid performances, Oscar Levant brings some amusing touches and a fresh personality while playing the piano brilliantly, especially when it's as demanding as Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto no.1(though not so much as Rachmaninov 3rd or particularly Brahms 2nd). Billie Burke is charming in her role. All in all, very enjoyable though a little disappointing too. 7/10 Bethany Cox
Fred&Ginger, They're So Hard To Replace
For their reunion and final screen pairing, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were teamed again by MGM in The Barkleys of Broadway. They play a pair of musical comedy performers who do have their occasional spats off the stage.One thing Arthur Freed at MGM did for the pair was give them a better and more mature story to work with than they ever did at RKO back in the Thirties. That was part of the charm though, you didn't really care about the silliness of the plots with music written by folks like, Kern, Gershwin, Porter, and Berlin.As in real life Fred was the creative one of the pair and he's criticizing Ginger a bit too much at times. So much so that she's very receptive to French director Jacques Francois's overtures to star in a straight dramatic play about young Sarah Bernhardt. This presents quite the dilemma for Fred in his professional and personal life.Harry Warren and Ira Gershwin wrote the score for The Barkleys of Broadway. I like very much the song You'd Be Hard To Replace it so fits Fred and Ginger for singing and dancing. Creative continuity was established with the RKO films as They Can't Take That Away From Me which was introduced in Shall We Dance and written by Ira and George Gershwin sung and danced elegantly here. It's one of my favorite ballads ever.Oscar Levant is his usual laconic and witty self here who inflicts the Saber Dance on party guests and later does Tschaikovsky's Concerto in B Flat in the grand and classical style. Levant's reputation as a wit overshadows his very real skill as a pianist, but not in this film. Also his close association with the Gershwin brothers gives some more official continuity with this film.I suppose Fred and Ginger could have done more films together, but I suppose that in The Barkleys of Broadway they left their fans on a high note. They'll never dancing partners like them ever again.
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